South Glos joins Wiltshire in new broadband partnership

Posted on Wednesday 21st December 2011 at 4:32 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council

Council plans to boost access to high-speed broadband across areas of South Gloucestershire have moved into the fast lane, thanks to a new partnership announced today.

South Gloucestershire will be joining Wiltshire and Swindon councils as they begin preparations to sign up a commercial broadband infrastructure provider under the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project.

The BDUK scheme uses central and local government funding to ensure that areas not usually attractive to commercial providers can access the economic and social benefits of high-speed broadband.

And while South Gloucestershire’s BDUK plans were already well-advanced, the tie-up with Wiltshire and Swindon’s project – the most advanced in the country – means the district will now be among the first in the country to begin the process of signing up a commercial provider.

Welcoming the news, South Gloucestershire Council Executive Member for Corporate Affairs John Goddard said:

“This is extremely exciting news for the council and for all the businesses and households in the district who to date have been unable to get high-speed broadband from a commercial provider.”

“As a council we are committed to investing in the future economic prosperity of our district and the BDUK scheme will help ensure that all of our businesses and residents have access to broadband regardless of where they are located.”

“Better still, this partnership with Wiltshire and Swindon has fast-tracked our plans and will ensure that homes and businesses should get earlier access to broadband than previously hoped. Quite simply we could not be any further ahead with our BDUK project.”

John Thomson, deputy leader at Wiltshire Council and cabinet member for communities, said:

“We are really pleased to be working together on this; jointly sharing expertise, keeping costs down and ultimately providing better internet access for all our residents.”

As well as speeding up the roll-out of superfast broadband to rural areas in South Gloucestershire, the tie-up with the larger Wiltshire/Swindon project will also enable significant savings in project costs. It is also hoped that the larger scale of the project will result in a more commercially attractive area for potential bidders, encouraging greater competition and enhancing the scheme’s value for money.

Under the plans agreed with Wiltshire and Swindon councils, the process of inviting bids from commercial suppliers is set to begin in spring 2012, with the contract announcement due in the summer. Work to install the network is expected to begin by December 2012, with the first residents and businesses able to sign up for superfast broadband from 2013.

The council is currently encouraging residents and businesses to register their interest in superfast broadband, in order to gather evidence of demand within the district. The survey can be accessed on the council website until Wednesday 29th February at www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband.

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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